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					Multi-level governance: the case of
    London Local Government

                 Nirmala Rao
             Goldsmiths College
             University of London
Labour’s constitutional revolution

      Northern Ireland
      English Regions
Devolution in Scotland

 September 1997 referendum (big majority)
 Scottish Parliament elected – May 1999
 Responsible for health, education, housing,
  economic development
 Scottish executive has proved powerful and
  independent (eg, University fees)
 2007 – Scottish Nationalists win power and
  promised referendum on independence
Devolution in Wales

 Welsh Office – 1965
 The rise of Welsh nationalism

 Welsh Assembly created in 1998

 No power to make policy

 Power shifted from local authorities, not
  downward from Whitehall
 Enhanced powers 2006
        The case of Northern Ireland

 Long history of devolution, suspended 1972
 Peace process led to restoration of devolved powers
  (since suspended and restored again)
 Northern Ireland Assembly – economic, social,
  agricultural and rural affairs, education and training,
  trade and investment
 Deep political conflicts impeded devolution
 Opposing parties now power sharing
The English Regions

 Long tradition of regional government (central
  government offices in the Regions)
 New Labour created Regional Development
  Agencies (RDAs) and appointed assemblies
 Plans for elected assemblies dropped after
  referendum defeat in North-East
 Continuing emphasis on co-ordination of
  central government activities in the regions
The London Question

 Conflict between national and London’s
 A tradition of central control
 A century of demands for devolution
 London’s status as the capital city
 GLC (1964-83) – London’s first regional
The abolition of GLC

left power in the hands of
      • Ministers
      • 32 London boroughs
      • joint arrangements
      • London First (private sector)
Coping with fragmentation

 Cabinet sub-committee and Minister of
 Government office for London (GOL)

 partnership arrangements, notably London
New Labour’s proposals

A New Leadership for London proposed a new
  democratic forum to provide leadership, to
  continue to promote London as a World City
  and to bridge the gap between community-led
  government and national government.
The new arrangements for London centre on a
  new elected body – the Greater London
  Assembly – and the Mayor, which together
  constitute the Greater London Authority.
The Mayor and Assembly

     Principal executive power and authority is vested in
      the Mayor. In common with conventional local
      authorities he is unable to delegate functions to a
      single elected member of the Assembly, with the
      exception of the deputy Mayor who is part of the
      executive function of the authority.
     The Mayor has also to provide an annual report on the
      exercise of his statutory functions, in particular
      progress on implementing the several strategies that
      the Act requires him to prepare. He has also to report
      such information as the Assembly may require at the
      beginning of the year to which the annual report
The Mayor and Assembly

 The main function of the Assembly is to
 secure the accountability of the Mayor.
 First, the Mayor has to report to each
 meeting of the Assembly in written form,
 and is obliged to attend each meeting.
 Assembly members can question the
 Mayor orally or in writing.
The new arrangements

     Most of the former London-wide organisations are
      absorbed into the GLA – the London Research
      Centre (LRC), the London Planning Advisory
      Committee (LPAC), the London Ecology Unit
      (LEU) and the London Pensions Fund Authority
     Transport for London (TfL) and the London
      Development Agency (LDA) run transport and
      economic development respectively, and will be
      accountable to the Mayor who will appoint their
The new arrangements….

    The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) will be the
     first such body locally-accountable in London
     history, with the Mayor appointing Assembly
     members to 11 places on the 23-strong Police

    London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority
A crowded arena

 Ministers
 Whitehall departments
 Appointed bodies
 Greater London Authority
 The boroughs
 Representatives of the business community
…all working together but competing for
Whitehall departments

 Transport

 Culture, Media and Sport

 Trade and Industry

 Home Office

 Health

 The Government Office for London (GOL)
Appointed Bodies

 Strategic Rail Authority (until 2005)
 Housing Corporation


 Learning and Skills Council

 Arts Council

 Sport England     etc..etc…
London’s own government

 The GLA - The Mayor and Assembly
 32 London boroughs

 City of London

 London Councils
Managing London

 The problem: the key issues facing London
 inevitably draw in all the major players –
 central government, the GLA, the boroughs,
 the appointed bodies, commercial interests
 (e.g. London First)

 The solution – concentrate more power in the
 hands of the Mayor?
Enhancing the powers of the
   Devolution under GLA Act 1999 judged a success
   Mayor gains new powers
                        skills training
                        other powers to appoint
   Is this devolution?
The government argued…

 We want to achieve the right balance of powers
 between national government, Greater London
 Authority and the London boroughs, to ensure that
 London continues to hold its deserved position as a
 global city with a highly successful economy… We
 are devolving powers from Whitehall to London
 wherever feasible. But in some specific cases, such
 as planning, we are strengthening the mayor’s
 powers in relation to the boroughs where we believe a
 more strategic approach will deliver better co-
 ordination and delivery of services
The future of devolution

 The true devolution of power goes beyond
 regional and local devolution to public
 authorities. It means devolving more power
 from government altogether, and into the
 hands of local communities - giving local
 people the tools to make improvements in their
 own neighbourhoods (Chancellor of
The new plan: double devolution

 It is not possible – sitting in Whitehall – to say what
 approach will work for what community under what
 circumstances – that is a matter for councils and other
 public service providers in consultation with their
 residents. But I believe it is possible for central
 government to subscribe to the principles of
 devolution. Indeed it is necessary to do so in order
 for the double devolution deal to be put in place
 (Miliband, 2006)
The emerging consensus

 Eliminate duplication
 Greater devolution to local authorities

 Enhance financial capacity

 Can Westminster/Whitehall let go?

 Can local authorities let go of powers to
Boris: A New Era for London

 2008 London elections
 Conservatives gain Assembly seats but no
 Mayor Ken Livingstone (2000-8) defeated by
  Conservative Boris Johnson
 Signed City Charter agreement with boroughs
The City Charter

Essentially a new deal with the boroughs:

  Londoners expect those that they elect to
  govern this great city to work together for all
  their interests. While the tiers of London
  government have distinct roles, this document
  sets out how we can bring them together to
  harness the full potential of the capital’s public
New Principles for Governing London

 London’s elected leaders will ensure that
 government decisions are made as close to
 people as possible… [they] recognise that
 each tier of London government has a unique
 contribution to make… [they] recognise the
 vital role played by the London Assembly and
 borough councillors in providing effective
 scrutiny for all levels of London governance
A Congress of London Leaders

   A congress of London Leaders to meet at least twice
    yearly (borough leaders and Mayor) to take joint
   A joint delivery board for London’s public services to
    take action on priorities identified by the Congress
   Mayor pledges to over rule borough decisions only as
    a last resort and only in the most exceptional
To sum up….

   London’s governmental complexity remains
   Labour government unlikely to devolve further powers
    to Conservative Mayor
   Mayor Johnson will work closely with Conservative
    leadership who are moving towards further devolution
    to local authorities
   Post 2008 London will work very differently
Multi-level governance: the case of
    London Local Government

            Professor Nirmala Rao
             Goldsmiths College
             University of London
Multi-level governance: the case of
    London Local Government

                 Nirmala Rao
             Goldsmiths College
             University of London

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